Coronavirus got you washing your hands like a champ and social distancing to flatten the curve?
Good. Those are super important practices right now to maintain health for yourself and for others.
But what else can you do to take care of yourself during this health crisis and super stressful time.
When it comes to maintaining wellness, the first thing you need to know about is Ojas.
Ojas is a sanskrit word that refers to vitality.
This is the kind of thing you can feel in a tangible way if you grab a big chunk of your arm and squeeze it. If you feel good healthy tissue that bounces back after you squeeze, you’ve got a reasonably healthy supply of ojas. If you grab your arm and there’s not juiciness to your skin, that’s telling you that your ojas tank is closer to empty.
There are other ways to feel ojas, though.
Ojas is a feeling deep in your cells of energy and vitality.
How awake and alive do you feel in your body? Do you have a good amount of energy or do you regularly feel depleted? How excited are you for your life or for the day ahead?
The answers to these questions will give you a sense of your ojas level.
Now ojas is important because your ojas level reflects your overall health, but even more importantly, building ojas also builds your immunity.
The more ojas you have, the less likely you are to be taken out by a virus. Or if you do get sick, you can recover more quickly.
So how do you build ojas?
Here are a few simple ways to build your ojas and maintain vibrant health.
Simple Ayurvedic Tips for Maintaining Wellness
Take More Rest:
This is the number one, most important thing you can do for yourself to build your ojas. Sleep and structured rest will not only help your body heal, but also repair and rebuild your bodily tissues.
This is a kapha practice.
Kapha encourages healing, growth, rebuilding, and nourishing.
While I’m not saying sleep until 1pm or nap for 2 hours everyday, I am suggesting that you avoid staying up super late binge watching Netflix or reading about the latest coronavirus news. Instead, tuck in early. Get your zzz’s. Rise with the sun.
And if you are sick or think you are getting sick, yes add in a nap or 2 during the day. Definitely sleep as much as your body asks for.
Restorative yoga is a great tool to add to your days, too.
Move Your Body:
This is a biggie. Moving your body will help keep things moving, heating your body from the inside out and keeping your tissues active.
The more you allow your body to stagnate, the easier it is for a virus to take hold and thrive. Viruses like that.
The downside of giving yourself too much kapha (see above) is that it’s very easy to fall into a habit of not moving and creating more stagnation.
Part of building ojas is about creating more dynamic action — building heat through movement.
You don’t have to run a marathon everyday.
Kitchen dance parties count.
So does yoga.
Just make sure you are moving your body daily so you are increasing your ojas.
Eat Fresh Foods:
Avoid the packaged stuff as much as possible. Yes, I know you’ve been fear-buying all of the canned, frozen, “shelf-stable” foods. Please only use those if you absolutely have to.
Buy green veggies and fruits. Eat as much of the good stuff as possible.
It will fuel your wellness better than the food that can survive in bomb shelters. We are not yet at bomb shelter stage.
Fresh foods have more prana, aka life force.
Packaged foods have less, primarily because they are packed with preservatives to help them last longer.
The further away from real food it is, the less it will benefit your overall wellness and build your ojas.
Be consistent with your habits:
I’m not a fan of diets that say you can “cheat on the weekends” or even the idea that sleeping in on the weekends is a great idea.
I know, not a popular idea but hear me out.
The more consistent you are with your healthy routines and habits, the more they support you. And not just in times when you’re healthy, but they become your solid foundation when you are sick or getting sick.
Those practices you put in place become your reserves.
Having consistent simple practices that you use to maintain your health will support you when your body is fighting something or trying to avoid getting something.
Vata doesn’t like this, by the way. Vata hates consistency of any kind. It’s also a build up of vata that can weaken your immune system and deplete your ojas. Excess vata will run you down.
A consistent set of small, simple daily practices will help keep you more grounded, balanced, and supported so you can build your capacity for wellness.
Stress is a symptom of vata. Too much vata and our stress amps up. Or another way to look at it is that when things get stressful, our vata goes on overdrive. Excessive vata can feel like exhaustion or overwhelm or anxiety or fear. It can cause you to spend hours scrolling through facebook and forgetting to eat.
Stress can also make you sick. And once you’re sick, it’s tough not to be extra stressed, especially in this season of heightened fear and uncertainty. Stress will do a number on your body, all the way down into your cells.
So instead of letting stress build up, increase your ojas.
Create some warmth, rest deeply, eat well, and be consistent.
Want to hear me talk about this in a bit more depth?
Check out the live video I did in my facebook community!